I just can’t find the words

2014-02-04 11.06.23I write blog posts for my marketing clients. Taking one client as an example, I keep a schedule going forward about 2 months, identifying topics for two posts a week.  I keep a few gaps in the schedule for more up-to-the-minute items, but in general I know several weeks in advance what I’m writing about, and when.  This means I can get ahead of myself if I’m going to be away or expect to be extra-busy on other matters.

Each post takes on average up to one hour to get written, re-written, checked and posted.  Some are longer, some shorter. Sometimes there’s a little research involved, such as when I’m writing about an industry related topic about which I need to mug-up in a hurry. For some I need to chase up background from the company or interview staff – usually by phone or Skype. But that’s about as tricky as it gets.

So I keep on top of it, posts on Mondays and Thursdays, unless there’s a good reason to shift days.  This week’s Monday post for example, went out today, as it was a promotion for the company’s Facebook page and it seemed worth tying this into Facebook’s 10th birthday celebrations.

It’s not just about getting paid for my work. Cliché I know, but I value my clients – they enable me to live like I do, with enough time to write for pleasure alongside earning my living.  So it matters to me that they think I’m doing a good job for them.  I work hard at being interesting, relevant, varied, witty and informative in the blogs I write for them.  I want my clients to receive positive feedback on my posts from their clients and associates.

But here’s my dilemma: Why doesn’t it work the same way when it’s personal? Why can’t I bang out my own personal ‘A Writer’s Notepad’ blog posts as efficiently, professionally and dependably as I can manage my clients’ posts?

Why is it easier to write for someone else, than to write for me?  What makes it different? Why do I agonise for days over one post or another?  Why do I start writing on one topic, then abandon it for another, then go back to the first, then … go and make a cup of coffee? I can’t seem to settle. I write and write, and I just can’t get it right.

My own from-the-heart, writerly missives cause me endless frustration.  What topic to pick? What to say? How to make it interesting? Should it be humorous or deep-and-meaningful? How personal or intimate should I be – or not? Then I need to get the words right – I am a writer, after all, and so the last thing I need is to bsha ou psots flilled wit miscakes.

So I’ve hit on an idea – just for this week.  I have a few (admittedly cryptic) blog post headlines for you to choose from.  These are all partially written – some more partially than others. Whichever gets the most votes, come what may, I will post next.

You get to choose, and here’s the choice:

 

The poll is open for one week from today. Meanwhile, just in case, I’m going to try and pull every one of these partial posts into some kind of shape.

PS:  Just by accident this morning I found out that if I press the Ctrl key whilst scrolling the wheel on my mouse, it zooms the text on my page in and out. How cool is that? And how come I never knew this before?

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Author: Jools

Abundant, Bold, Confident, Determined, Empathetic, Forthright, Grumpy, Healthier, Individual, Just me, Kind, Loving, Mellifluous, Natural, Optimistic, imPatient, Quirky, Real-world, Single-minded, unTreatable, Unwound, Verbal, Wilful, eXtraordinary, Young and old, Zero-tolerance.

14 thoughts on “I just can’t find the words”

  1. Is it because when you write for your clients you are briefed on what the subject is and what they want the blog to achieve? When you write your personal blog, do you think along those lines or are you looking for something that means something to you at that moment?
    I think writing is a bit like relationships, easy to give advice from the outside but incredibly hard to see what to do from the inside.
    The one rule I have for writing my blog is that I have an hour to write and another to edit; then publish and be damned. It sometimes leads to subjects that are either half thought out or where I haven’t given myself the time to explore them properly, but this negative outweighs the positive of not wasting my time prevaricating over one subject or another.

    1. Actually I tend mostly to propose topics. Sometimes it’s hard to think them up, but it gets easier as I get to know the clients and their preferences. As for my own blog, it’s about engaging people, provoking thought and occasionally debate, sharing my experience of writing and also, of course, being a little bit entertaining.

      I like your one-hour rule and it must make it easier to deliver posts more frequently. But so often I find that, whilst I may have got all the ideas down on paper, sentences and occasionally whole paragraphs are all in the wrong order. I don’t always see it straight away and as a result, a post might look – and be – incoherent, but with a little swapping-about of ideas, something sensible emerges. I need to come back to it a couple of times, which is why I have so many part-finished efforts in my bloggy folder.

    1. Thanks for voting! There’s a clear front-runner at the moment, although responses have only crept into double figures. Unfortunately, it’s the one post I’ve written least on. That was always going to happen, I guess.

  2. My experience so far supports Dylan’s explanation. Most of my blog posts are part of an ongoing series of photographs and comments around a single theme. Those posts are quite quick to do because I know where to look for material and people’s reactions to earlier posts helps shape the later ones.
    But I also do occasional posts on whatever topic catches my interest. I have finished just one of these in the four months I have been blogging, while half a dozen partially written stubs still await completion…

    1. I think part of my problem is at the moment, I’m not writing. I finished ‘Singled Out’ and I’m currently plugging it to agents, which may take some time and has no promise of a positive outcome. I think, once I start planning my next novel (yes… I’m getting the itch, I want to put into practice what I’ve learned from my first experience of novel-writing), topics related to the process of planning/writing/editing will again emerge.

      Your picture-based posts are intriguing and I love how you focus so tightly on one view or item, or even a small corner of something, and the share the thoughts or memories which the item brings to mind. It’s a delightful basis for a blog. And I’m glad I’m not the only one with partially written stubs!

        1. I like that. Or what about shared blog posts, where you write a paragraph, then pass it on to another blogger for the next paragraph, and another for the next, and so on. A bit like those folded pictures from school days, where you all drew feet, then folded your picture to hide what you’d done, before passing it on round the group, for the next person to do the legs, then fold and hide, and the next to do the middle, and on… revealing at the end a collection of magnificently grotesque characters.

  3. I write two business blogs and my personal blog, so I can definitely relate.

    Maybe it’s easier to write business blogs because with the posts that you write, you’re teaching and entertaining your intended audience. With the personal blog posts, it’s trickier because you’re expressing your soul and inner thoughts to your followers and anyone else who finds you.

    1. You’re right. With my own blog, it’s a little bit of me, not just my skills as a writer. So much more personal, whatever the topic.

  4. I think blogging is like dealing with problems – other people’s are always easier than your own. As my blog is about a journey, the order is largely mapped out, with issues that spark from people, places or events I’ve encountered along the way. It gives a structure to my blogs and helps with my problem, which is that I have too much inspiration and need to be selective. I hope we’ll get to see all of your above blog ideas fully penned in due course and that you are asking us to vote mainly to decide the order.

    1. Yes, I hope to post all of them one of these days. The poll is a bit of fun just to drive me to finish one at least, of my part-completed efforts.

    1. OK… I can do that. Client blogging is only part of what I do, but I confess I’d enjoy doing more of it. I’ll pull something together.

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